We took the opportunity whilst in town this afternoon to have a look at the festive lights, switched on now a few days ago. This was a quick visit just to the Liverpool ONE area, so much remains for a return trip (and perhaps to write about again); but what we saw was great. The displays are fresh and varied and the mood is good.
Liverpool city centre felt like a place where people will want to come to enjoy their Christmas shopping. There’s something here for everyone.
Could the sun resolve Greek (and Spanish) problems with national debt? Some three years ago now Dreaming Realist lamented the inability or unwillingness to capture the power of Greece’s annual 2,000 hours of sunshine. Perhaps the current European economic crisis means the time is now right to revisit this omission. The Greek deficit is alarming. Carbon (sunshine) now has formal monetary value. Northern Europe needs much more energy. Investment in Greek solar energy infrastructure would benefit that national economy….
Ostia Antica is what remains of the ancient port city on the coast to the west just a short journey beyond Rome. It makes for a fascinating day out and seems ideal for children as well as adults. But today we had the place almost to ourselves. It took less than an hour (and just a standard one Euro ticket) from Termini to the station at Ostia Antica, and the cafe there was great for lunch. So where was everyone? This is vast and enormously important historic site you could visit again and again.
There’s nothing can be added here to the vast store of scholarship about ancient Rome. I hope the pictures will simply speak for themselves. But I can offer practical advice: It takes hours to see everything. You can enter the venues (Fora and Colosseum) only once each over two days. You’ll need sturdy shoes, a big bottle of water plus maybe nibbles. Rest and cool down where possible. And a vivid imagination is essential. These are places where real people, some still known by name, lived and worked two millennia ago.
We’re in Rome this week, for our long-awaited Summer break. It’s our second visit to this city, but some things have changed a bit over the past fifteen years. For a start, the Auditorium wasn’t even build then; so that’s where we headed today – where we learned more about regeneration through culture, we were disappointed as tourists, and we thoroughly enjoyed a concert by the virtuoso pianist Stefano Bollani.
These photographs taken in 2010 on 20 June and then on Midsummer Day, 21 June, reflect our times as city regions like Liverpool’s move into the new millennium. We have here derelict industrial plant in the Cheshire plain, a vast refinery in Runcorn, and finally a painter absorbed in his art whilst others hustle and bustle between the Albert Dock and the new retail centre of Liverpool.
This year April in Sefton Park has been glorious. The ravages of the long years whilst it was being renovated are now firmly behind us, regrowth is abundant, and people in their hundreds – even thousands – are visiting more readily than ever to enjoy this special place.
Whether it’s to take a stroll or get fit, to feed or watch the birds, to take little ones to the playground or meet friends in the cafes, to enjoy a picnic or a concert, or simply to relax in the sunshine, on a Spring morning there’s nowhere better to be.
Even in a great modern city like London, the Winter Solstice is not totally ignored.
Here, just behind the Angel Islington, preparations have been made to celebrate this Solstice in the local community Culpeper Garden, a small but beautifully stocked oasis amidst the bustle of urban life. There are still those who perhaps see mystery, if not magic, in the ancient calendar of the seasons. What though should we make of the massive snowman not a few hundred yards further along City Road? On the evening of the Solstice he almost seems to be awaiting his taxi as the snow continues to fall…
It began just as an idea to go to the theatre. We would book for No Wise Men at the Liverpool Playhouse, enjoy a bit of pre-festive light drama, and be home again ere the witching hour.
But that was before the snow. We left our south Liverpool house to go into town with none, and when we later emerged from the Playhouse it was four or five inches thick, covering everything in sight. The Christmas Market in Williamson Square took on a new and somehow more authentic look, and the pedestrian centre of town became almost a winter wonderland. Our little trip became a lovely double treat.
The Liverpool Everyman Bistro on Hope Street is amazing – a hub of the Hope Street community, that exotic collection of performing actors and artists, students and academics, musicians, hospitality professionals, faith leaders and more. The Bistro has stayed true to its intention (initially thought very bohemian) to offer wholesome local food. And today sees its 40th birthday….